Volvo research strongly suggests that infants should travel in rear-facing car seats until they are at least three or four years old.
During a frontal impact - normally the most frequent and usually the most severe impact situation - in a forward facing seat, the infant’s body is restrained but its disproportionately large head is not, putting immense strain on the neck. When travelling in a rear-facing seat, the crash forces are spread over the back and head, which reduces the load on the neck and greatly decreases the chance of severe neck and spinal injury.
According to Volvo’s investigations, a forward facing child seat provides around 80% better protection than if no child restraints are used, whereas a child in a rear-facing seat is approximately 90% less likely to be seriously injured in an accident.
Belts and Boosters
The positioning of the safety belt is important so that the occupant is restrained over the body’s stronger areas like the upper torso and pelvis – protecting the weaker parts of the body such as the abdomen.
The lap belt should be placed tightly across the pelvis, as low as possible towards the thighs and not over the soft tissue of the abdomen. The torso belt should run across the chest and also be pulled tight. It does not matter if the belt touches the neck. Never place the torso belt under the arm or behind the back.
A booster seat gives a child an increased height and directs the safety belt over the stronger parts of the body during a crash.
Child Safety Guide
Volvo has created a complete microsite dedicated to child safety information which includes short video guides and practical tips for parents and parents-to-be, as well as a free downloadable Children in Cars booklet. Visit the site at www.volvocars.co.uk/childsafety.